Saturday, March 7, 2009

Berlin Cops Adore Nazis, Push Antifascist Demonstrators Around A Bit

I've always heard that Nazi or Neo-Nazism is illegal in Germany. Wearing the swastika or other Nazi symbols, singing 'Deutschland Uber Alles' and doing Hitler's high-handed salute, are all verboten.

Recently I've come to realize that this is total bullshit. I first had my suspicions several years ago on a visit to a small town in the former East Germany. There was a large tent with a party going on and a bonfire outside. After waltzing into their tent for some fun, I noticed that everyone was bald. With bomber jackets, camo pants and high-laced boots. I had walked into a skinhead party in a village field. So, casually, I ate some of their munchies, drank a few of their beers and slowly strolled away without speaking to anyone.

Upon my arrival in Berlin a couple of months ago, there was a fashion issue of the local English rag 'Exberliner.' I despise fashion as any red-blooded heterosexual from the States would (ich bin ein Redneck), but I picked up the mag anyway hoping to find ads for pubs and grub. I found that they covered all areas of fashion in Berlin, including NAZI FASHION. WTF? I thought this Nazi b.s. was unacceptable. Well, the clothing had some mods (I dunno, maybe a pretzel on the armband instead of swassie), but it was undeniably clothing for goose-stepping fools with too much time on their hands.

Today I was awakened from my Saturday afternoon nap to the sound of shouting. Usually the Berlin party crowd waits til after midnight to begin their drunken howls under my balcony. Not today. I stepped outside to see a large crowd of young whippersnappers wearing black clothes and bandannas pulled over their mouths, marching. Various street punks joined in to provide some local color. I was drowsy as any fat slob who eats pizza and beer all the time would be after a nap, but I snapped to attention when a white-helmet-sporting-cop started pushing one of the protesters around. The kid wasn't doing anything. In fact, he was headed AWAY from the shouting youth. But the cops wanted him fenced in. I went for the camera and took a couple of mediocre shots from the balcony. I headed down to the street to find out what was going on, and while people were milling around on the street corner I discovered the following: the shouting miscreants were various members of anti-fascist groups protesting the opening of a new(neo?)Nazi clothing store. I have to wonder where these brain dead boneheads get the money for designer fashions (one such brand I read about is Thor Steiner, a Norwegian designer who makes clothing for fascists)? Maybe they pay for their swag with gold teeth ripped from the mouths of dead Jews.

I hung around to get some snaps, but I got a bit nervous when one of the cops started video taping me as I was taking pics (see above left). I'm not usually keen on photographing cops in any country, especially ones where the cops actually wear jackboots and grimaces as part of their uniform. Today's coppers wore jumpsuits and helmets as well. In a country where Neo-Nazism is technically illegal, why does the largest city in Germany not only tolerate fascism, but recruit some of them as cops?

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